In the free enterprise system that has existed in the American culture for many decades now, we’ve seen technological advancements like never before. The rate is unprecedented; allowing us to do things (like read this blog!) that 100 years ago likely seemed impossible or thousands of years away. Sometimes, it almost feels like there’s nothing that can’t be done – if not soon, then eventually.
But, there’s a major trap that technological advancement can bring. That problem is that we only consider what CAN be done, while paying little attention to what SHOULD be done.
Should We Re-Create Dinosaurs?
In the book The Connecting Church 2.0, Randy Frazee gives a brilliant example of this by referencing a scene from the popular movie Jurassic Park. Remember when all of the guests come to the realization of what the billionaire park creator had done with the technological ability to extract DNA from pre-historic blood trapped in mosquitoes? They had mixed reactions.
But one in particular eventually rang true. It was when Dr. Ian Malcolm said “Your scientists were so pre-occupied with whether or not they could, they didn’t stop to think about if they should!“ And we all know how that story ended.
Healthy vs. Easy
In many of the most important ways, isn’t this how our society has been built in recent times? Haven’t we traded what is healthy for what is convenient and comfortable? Instead of interacting with the outside world, don’t we learn about it mostly from media?
Instead of choosing our locations of residence based on people and purpose, don’t we choose them based on budget and other inanimate factors (size, color, amenities, weather!, etc.)? Instead of taking the challenge of building strong personal relationships, haven’t many substituted the virtual world of social media sites to keep up with their “friends?”
All of these choices are “can dos,” but not necessarily “should dos,” because many of them make our lives “easier,” but not necessarily more healthy. No, of course technology is not inherently bad. But, it brings with it many “can do” traps.
So, stop for a moment and take inventory of your life and notice all of the “can dos” that aren’t necessarily “should dos.” Personally, I noticed that I waste time every night watching TV in bed because I can, not because I should.
If you really think about it, all of the unnecessary “can dos” add up pretty quickly, don’t they? And they stuff our lives with obstacles to community by distracting us from the “should dos.” This leaves us with little time left over to live out our purpose.